Focused Demon silences Nadal talk
There is no looking beyond Friday for Alex de Minaur.
No preoccupation with the potential third-round clash against Rafael Nadal at the Australian, not even his opening match of the Grand Slam in Melbourne against Pedro Sousa.
De Minaur only has focus on his Sydney International semi-final, having beaten friend and countryman Jordan Thompson 7-6 6-3 at Ken Rosewall Arena on Thursday night.
The 19-year-old had not seen his Open draw when he spoke with reporters after his victory, and it was clear he would not be consumed by the tantalising prospect of playing Nadal in the next fortnight.
"At the moment I'm still in Sydney, still in this tournament," de Minaur said. "This tournament hasn't finished for me.
"In a lot of tournaments you can look ahead and eventually you'll play one of the big guys. But a lot has to go your way for you to get to there.
"So at the moment, I'm in Sydney. I've got my semi-finals. After that, we'll see what happens. But it's still ages away for me to even think about it."
As Australia's highest-ranked male player with a world ranking of 29, de Minaur earned a seeding of 27th for the Australian Open, unlike compatriots Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, who have paid heavily by drawing big guns Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic respectively.
"I've just got to focus on doing the right things and looking after myself, listening to the great group of guys I've got around me and just keep doing what I'm doing, keep trying to improve every single day and getting out there and competing," de Minaur said.
"That's all I can ask from myself."
De Minaur will next face and Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat Australia's John Millman 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-3) in Thursday's late quarter-final match.
Against Thompson, the teenager outlasted his mate in a gruelling first set before running home.
"It's never easy coming out and playing a fellow Australian teammate and a guy that I have grown up with, someone that I have looked up to as an older brother,' de Minaur said.
"I'm very happy with my efforts here. I knew coming in it was never going to be an easy task, and he was going to leave it all out there. I'm very proud of my efforts.
"Obviously coming in here was very different, a lot more expectations on me now. I feel like I have dealt with the situations really well, focusing on what I need to focus on, which is me going out there every single point and just competing. I'm happy to be able to get the wins, as well."